Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brown Dog Affair

The Brown Dog Affair concerns a vivisection that took place at University College London, conducted by William Bayliss.  A group of Swedish anti-vivisectionists were present, and the result, following courtcases was a statue of a Brown Dog erected in Battersea park.  The statue became the focus for both groups, anti-vivisectionists and anti-doggers.  The anti-doggers led a march through London on December 10th, 1907.  There were clashes in Trafalgar Square between anti-doggers and suffragettes, trade unionists and police officers.

Leisa Schartau and Louise Lind-af-Hageby, Swedish anti-vivisectionists who enrolled at the London School of Medicine for Women were present at the vivisection.  Their notes suggest that Professor Starling operated on the dog to test the effects of a previous operation on his pancreas.  The dog was then given to Dr Bayliss who performed an additional operation on the dog's neck, testing its salivary glands, and finally to Mr Dale (who removed the pancreas) who killed the dog.

The notes from Schartau and af-Hageby formed the basis for The Shambles of Science, produced by the NAVS, whose secretary at the time was Stephen Coleridge.  Coleridge read out his complaint in public, forcing Bayliss to fight a libel case.  Bayliss won £2000.  This decision was supported by the Times and opposed by the Daily News.  The Daily News raised £5,735 to cover compensation, and later raised further money to pay for the Brown Dog Statue.

The Brown Dog Statue was a present from Miss Woodward, founder of the World League against Vivisection and Honorary Secretary of the International Anti-vivisection Council.  The statue was erected in Latchmere Park, Battersea, with the inscription below on it:

“In Memory of the Brown Terrier Dog Done to Death in the Laboratories of University College in February 1903 after having endured Vivisections extending over more than two months and having been handed over from one Vivisector to another till Death came to his release. Also in memory of the 232 dogs vivisected in the same place during the year 1902. Men and Women of England – How long shall these things be?”

The statue was erected on the 20th Nov 1906.  Medical students opposed the statue, and on the 20th Nov 1907 a group of up to 500 attacked the statue.  Two at leas were caught by plain clothes police, carrying crowbars and sledgehammers; they were fined £5 each.  There were further punch-ups between medical students and residents of Battersea.  On the 10th December there was a large demonstration, arranged to coincide with the Oxford/Cambridge rugby match.  The demonstrators carried effigies of the judge and representations of the dog on poles.  They tried to burn these outside Kings College London; they then dumped the effigy into the Thames.

There were scuffles at the statue and then a larger group gathered at Nelson's Column where they were charged by mounted police.  The leader was arrested.  The protest continued in the coming months, with medical students breaking in to suffragette meetings, barking like dogs and shouting "Down with the Brown Dog."

A song sung by the Brown Doggers, or anti-doggers, goes:
As we go walking after dark
We turn our steps to Latchmere Park
And there we see to our surprise
A little brown dog that stands and lies
Ha, ha, ha! Hee, hee, hee!
Little Brown Dog, do we hate thee!

The statue of the dog was above a fountain with a trough for dogs; it was removed on March 9/10 1910; there are various explanations, one is the cost of defending it.

The British Medical Journal ran articles against the Brown Dog, defending attacks on the statue, "moral duty to his college, teachers and comrades, and his strict legal duty to his king and country."

The video below shows further stills from the riots; it has clearly been adapted by the anti-vivisectionists.

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